Lantana is a genus of about 150 species of perennial flowering plants in the verbena family, Verbenaceae. They are native to tropical regions of the Americas and Africa but exist as an introduced species in numerous areas, especially in the Australian-Pacific region. The genus includes both herbaceous plants and shrubs growing to 0.5–2 m tall. Their common names are shrub verbenas or lantanas. Some species are invasive, and are considered to be noxious weeds, such as in South Asia, Southern Africa and Australia. In the United States, lantanas are naturalised in the southeast, especially coastal regions of the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, and the Gulf Coast.
The generic name originated in Late Latin, where it refers to the unrelated Viburnum lantana. Lantana's aromatic flower clusters (called umbels) are a mix of red, orange, yellow, or blue and white florets. Other colours exist as new varieties are being selected. The flowers typically change colour as they mature, resulting in inflorescences that are two- or three-coloured. "Wild lantanas" are plants of the unrelated genus Abronia, usually called "sand-verbenas".
Lantana camara blanca, shown here is a small perennial shrub which can grow to around 2m in height and forms dense thickets in a variety of environments. It has small tubular shaped flowers, each of which has four petals and are arranged in clusters at the end of stems. Flowers are yellow and white and after pollination occurs the colour of the flowers change (typically from yellow to white); this is believed to be a signal to pollinators that the pre-change colour contains a reward as well as being sexually viable, thus increasing pollination efficiency.
This post is part of the Floral Friday Fotos meme.
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